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Five Unranked Players That Could Be NHL Draft Picks

Shattuck-St. Mary's defenseman Jordan Klehr
Shattuck-St. Mary's defenseman Jordan Klehr
Matt Christians
NHL Central Scouting is a great resource, by far one of the best ways of guessing what players might be selected in the later rounds of the NHL Draft. But with such a wide of range opinions out there, it is certainly not the be-all and end-all. Every team has their own draft list and every list will look drastically different than what NHL Central Scouting. That means the latter rounds of the Draft are bound to be littered with players that didn't make it onto NHL Central Scouting's final list. But who will those players be?

Here are five players unranked by NHL Central Scouting in their final rankings, but still may be worth a selection in the late rounds of this year's NHL Draft.

Jacob Olson, Defenseman, Hill-Murray(MN) High School

Olson actually made NHL Central Scouting's mid-term rankings at 157th among NA skaters before dropping off the final list. Olson is a big defensive defenseman that plays with a physical edge. He has really improved his footwork over the past two seasons to become a serviceable skater and though it won't be a primary asset at the next level, can flash the occasional nifty offensive play. He was named the top senior defenseman in the state of Minnesota this past season. Olson will play college hockey for Harvard next season.

Joel L'Esperance, Right Wing, Michigan Tech(WCHA)

L'Esperance has already been passed over twice in the Draft and is in his final year of eligibility. His numbers in the USHL the two prior seasons were decent, but not impressive enough to merit being selected. But last season, L'Esperance moved on to Michigan Tech where the 6'2" 200 lbs. winger showed off his abilities as a powerful, skilled forward. He didn't play a big role on a deep Michigan Tech team this past season, but managed 17 points in 29 games, including a strong finish to the season. His role should only grow in future seasons with the Huskies and if he can become a more consistent, he has the tools to be a very good NHL player. Rather than bidding against other teams for L'Esperance as a college free agent in a few years, a team would be smart to snag him in the later rounds of the Draft and pay that small price for exclusive negotiating rights.

Jordan Klehr, Defenseman, Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep

Klehr is an offensive-minded defenseman that really took his game to another level as this past season progressed. He's always been quick on his feet, but really improved his ability to get up and down the ice, becoming a consistent threat to join the offensive rush and create odd-man scoring situations. He'll likely play a year in the USHL before heading to Nebraska-Omaha to play NCAA hockey, so he will have lots of time to continue to develop.

Kole Sherwood, Center, Ohio AAA Blue Jackets U18

Sherwood was the second-leading scorer in the Tier 1 AAA U18 league this past season, trailing only linemate Carson Meyer. Sherwood has explosive quickness to go along with a big, solid frame and is capable of finishing off plays with a solid shot. It's rare but not unheard of for players out of the Tier I league to be drafted. Sherwood will play in the USHL next season, then has committed to Boston University so the team that drafts him will have plenty of time to let him develop and adjust to a better level of competition.

Matt Jurusik, Goalie, Janesville Jets(NAHL)

Jurusik was overshadowed by some of the other excellent draft-eligible goalies in the NAHL like Matej Tomek and Ryan Bednard this year, but it was Jurusik who led the entire NAHL in goaltending with an eye-popping 1.57 GAA and .939 save percentage. Jurusik isn't tremendously athletic, but he's got a big pro-style frame and is sound with his positioning which makes him very consistent.